Skip to contents
Politics and Government

How The Colorado Sun will cover the 2020 election — and why we need your help

A look at how our journalists decide what stories to cover and where we plan to focus our attention ahead of the November election in Colorado

Signs point the way to the voting services and polling place Hiawatha Davis Jr. Recreation Center in Denver's Park Hill neighborhood on March 3, 2020. (Eric Lubbers, The Colorado Sun)
  • Credibility:

A new survey shows that government and politics is the No. 2 issue in Colorado. And The Colorado Sun is here to help you make sense of it all.

We cover government and politics differently than others. Less “he-said, she-said” and more facts. No spin and no agenda. We are a nonpartisan, independent, member-supported, award-winning, journalist-owned news source serving all of Colorado.

Colorado voter guide: What you need to know about the 2020 candidates, mail ballots and how to vote

Our mission is to inform more than infuriate by telling stories that hold elected officials accountable and help readers better understand what’s happening within the state’s democratic institutions and political arena. This particularly applies to our 2020 election coverage.

The public’s confidence in the media as a whole is not great, the latest surveys show, so let’s have a conversation about how we do our jobs at The Sun. We want to build trust with you — our readers. 

To start, let’s talk about how we cover politics and elections. But before we get too far, we need to pause to make one thing clear: We can’t do our jobs without you. We want to tell your stories and provide the information you need to get informed.

Here’s how you can help us cover the election

  1. Ask us questions and we’ll get you answers. Do you have questions about the election or Colorado politics? Do you have a question for the candidates? Send them to us.
  2. Tell us your story. What do you think about the election or other political issues? We want to hear from you and include your voices in our stories. Submit them here.
  3. Submit a tip about voting problems. The Sun is partnering with ProPublica, a nonprofit investigative newsroom, to track voting problems and election integrity. Tell us if you experienced or witnessed any problems when casting your ballot. Text the word VOTE to 81380 to sign up, or visit this website for more information.
  4. Send us your political mail. Take a picture of both sides and email it to Sun correspondent Sandra Fish at fish@coloradomediaproject.com. We can fact check the claims and track the organizations spending money in races.

How we plan to cover the 2020 election in Colorado

It goes without saying, but we’ll say it anyway: We can’t cover everything. The bounty of government and political stories is too great — for us to report and for our readers to consume. So first, we focus on topics of particular interest to Colorado. Then we listen to what our readers tell us they think is important and provide information that is critical to their decision making in the election

We gravitate toward stories that go overlooked and specialize in explaining complicated issues in terms you can understand. We also focus on in-depth reporting and investigations — stories that explore multiple angles to an issue and don’t fit easily in a tweet. Other coverage looks not just at problems but also potential solutions and focuses on why it matters to readers. We want you to learn something you wouldn’t find elsewhere, explore new ideas and meet new people, and feel engaged in the issues when you finish our stories.

Want exclusive political news and insights first? Subscribe to The Unaffiliated, the political newsletter from The Colorado Sun. That’s where this story first appeared.

Join now or upgrade your membership.

Much of our energy this election year will go toward reporting where the candidates in the top races stand on issues; breaking down the latest poll numbers; tracking spending and campaign messages; and analyzing election administration and security to combat misinformation and disinformation.

This year alone, the Colorado ballot includes a presidential race, a U.S. Senate election, seven congressional contests, dozens of state legislative races and 11 statewide ballot initiatives.

In the next two months — much like the prior two months — we will prioritize coverage of the statewide races and ballot initiatives, tapping the subject expertise of our team of reporters. We plan to cover as much ground as possible always keeping you — the reader — at the forefront of what we do.

How we work to be fair in our stories

We are committed to being fair in the coverage of all political parties, candidates and issues at stake in the election. This doesn’t mean we just transcribe what candidates and campaigns tell us or provide equal space to unequal arguments. 

As we state in our ethics policy:

Journalists should be fair-minded and thorough in their reporting. At The Colorado Sun, we take that duty seriously, and we promise that our coverage will be doggedly comprehensive.

But we also cannot allow that promise to become a straightjacket that prevents us from seeking the truth or requires us to present all viewpoints as equally true regardless of the facts.

We ask tough questions and fact-check statements from all sides. We provide context and background that helps inform not just what is happening but more importantly, why it’s happening. And if we don’t know the information needed, we’ll tell you — that’s why we say when candidates don’t answer questions.

This type of reporting takes experience and time to complete. The information doesn’t appear in news releases — it requires talking to people with diverse perspectives and tracking down original source documents. We also work hard to verify information from multiple sources. And we do all of this for each story.

Why you can trust our reporting

The Sun is an independent local news source and our reporters are committed to the truth without any other agenda. It’s written in our ethics policy.

Here’s what it says, in part: “At the heart of our relationship with readers is a promise that we, in reporting the news, have no agenda but to serve them. Our journalists must leave their personal views and opinions out of news articles and instead let only the facts guide them. We seek out, listen to and quote diverse voices.”

We are nonpartisan and The Sun’s journalists must avoid engaging in any political activities in their professional or personal lives — that means we do not endorse or contribute money to candidates, parties, platforms, bills or initiatives.

The Sun’s opinion section — the work by columnists and contributors — is handled separately from the news side and it has no influence on our news coverage. The Sun does not have an editorial board and does not make endorsements.

And most importantly, when we make a factual mistake, we will correct it. You can find those corrections made to a story at the end.

Meet The Sun’s team

The political coverage is led by John Frank, a political editor and reporter, and Jesse Paul, a political reporter and general assignment writer. We are helped this year by Evan Ochsner, a reporting intern from Colorado who is studying journalism at Northwestern University. 

In addition, other members of The Sun’s team have vast experience covering politics in Colorado and will write election-related stories this year. See the staff list and contact information here.

To enhance our coverage, The Sun partners with other media organizations in Colorado. For politics coverage, our partners include the Colorado Media Project, an independent media resource focused on local journalism; CBS4 Denver; and PBS12. 

For election coverage, The Sun is a member of ProPublica’s Electionland project, which is focused on election integrity; Trusted Elections Network, an American Press Institute team that offers training in covering elections; and First Draft, an organization that monitors misinformation and disinformation.

What more do you want to know?

We are open to more questions and happy to provide greater transparency about how we do our work. So what else do you want to know? Email me at johnfrank@coloradosun.com and we’ll answer your questions here.

Rising Sun